THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 7

The Ten Faiths

J3 The ten positions of the ten faiths.
K1 The mind that resides in faith.


Sutra:

Then, with this mind centered on the middle, they enter the flow where wonderful perfection reveals itself. From the truth of that wonderful perfection there repeatedly arise wonders of truth. They always dwell in the wonder of faith, until all false thinking is completely eliminated and the Middle Way is totally true. This is called the Mind that Resides in Faith.

Commentary:


This begins the discussion on the ten faiths:

1. the mind that resides in faith,
2. the mind that resides in mindfulness,
3. the mind that resides in vigor,
4. the mind that resides in wisdom,
5. the mind that resides in samadhi,
6. the mind that resides in irreversibility,
7. the mind that resides in protecting the dharma,
8. the mind that resides in making transferences,
9. the mind that resides in the precepts,
10. the mind that resides in vows.

Then, with this mind centered on the middle, they enter the flow where wonderful perfection reveals itself. "This mind" refers to the mind at the level of dry wisdom, the initial vajra-mind. They use this mind to enter the flow of the Buddhadharma, and they reach the state where "wonderful perfection reveals itself," where it opens out in abundance. One reaches the principle and substance of true suchness. From the truth of that wonderful perfection there repeatedly arise wonders of truth. In the wonderful perfection of the true suchness of the self-nature, truths within truths come forth. They always dwell in the wonder of faith, until all false thinking is completely eliminated and the Middle Way is totally true. Their belief becomes more and more subtle and wonderful.

"Always dwell" means that they will not waver, they will not change their minds. Their faith is constant. At that point, all false thinking goes away, without exception. Even if they wanted to have false thoughts, the false thoughts just wouldn't arise. That is because false thoughts are helped out by ignorance. With false thoughts come love and desire. But now love and desire have been dried up and only a little ignorance remains, so that, quite naturally, they don't have false thoughts.

Why do you have false thinking? It is because you still have love and desire. There are things that you are greedy for. The desires compel you to think about this and that, so that your mind is always climbing on conditions. If people didn't have any greed, they wouldn't have any false thinking.

At this point in their cultivation, these people don't have false thinking. When that happens, one attains the nature of the principle of the Middle Way. It is "totally true," which means that there is no love and desire, no greedy false thoughts. This is called the Mind that Resides in Faith. This is the first of these ten positions. One brings forth genuine faith and dwells in it.

K2 The mind that resides in mindfulness.

Sutra:

When true faith is clearly understood, then perfect penetration is total, and the three aspects of skandhas, places, and realms are no longer obstructions. Then all their habits throughout innumerable kalpas of past and future, during which they abandon bodies and receive bodies, appear to them now in the present moment. These good people can remember everything and forget nothing. This is called the Mind that Resides in Mindfulness.

Commentary:


Prior to this stage, when they were residing in the mind of faith, they cultivated the Middle Way, that wonderful perfection, the principle which one neither enters into nor departs from. Now, since they are replete with faith, true faith is clearly understood. Once one has true faith, one can gain true wisdom. "Clear understanding," then, refers to that true wisdom. Then perfect penetration is total, and the three aspects of skandhas, places, and realms are no longer obstructions. Not only do they accomplish the perfect penetration of the sense organs, but of everything else as well, the five skandhas of form, feeling, thought, activity, and consciousness; the twelve places of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, together with forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, and dharmas; and the eighteen realms, which include the six sense-organs, the six sense-objects and the consciousnesses which connect them, that is, the eyeconsciousness, the ear-consciousness, the nose-consciousness, the tongue-consciousness, the body-consciousness, and the mindconsciousness.

Once you obtain perfect penetration, these things can no longer hinder you. Then all their habits throughout innumerable kalpas of past and future, during which they abandon bodies and receive bodies, appear to them now in the present moment. For time beyond calculation they have been undergoing rebirth and will continue to undergo rebirth, birth after birth, death upon death. And in each one of those lives, they have different habits. In one life they got into the habit of drinking wine. In another life they were in the habit of smoking. In another life, they were habitual gamblers. Another life found them with habits of lust. In another life they killed. Another life made them into thieves. In one life, they got into the habit of lying. In general, life after life, they developed habits that led them to do all kinds of bad things. That's looking at the bad habits. But there are also good habits. In one life, they got into the habit of bowing to the Buddhas. In another life, they habitually recited the Shurangama Mantra.

In one life, they had the habit of listening to the explanation of the Shurangama Sutra. In another life, they habitually listened to the Lotus Sutra. In general, throughout all those lives in so many kalpas, they walked many paths. As a result, they had accumulated a tremendous number of habits. But now, just like a movie, all those habits appear before them. These good people can remember everything and forget nothing. These good people who are cultivating the Way can bring it all to mind. They can remember it all. When they attain that state, they never forget. That means they always have their mind on what's happening. They are always mindful of those causes and conditions. This is called the Mind that Resides in Mindfulness, the second of the ten faiths.

K3 The mind that resides in vigor.

Sutra:

When the wonderful perfection is completely true, that essential truth brings about a transformation. They go beyond the beginningless habits to reach the one essential brightness. Relying solely on this essential brightness, they progress toward true purity. This is called the Mind of Vigor.

Commentary:

When the wonderful perfection is completely true, that essential truth brings about a transformation. They go beyond the beginningless habits to reach the one essential brightness, which is wisdom. Relying solely on this essential brightness, they progress toward true purity. Their vigor takes them to a place of true purity which is devoid of any defilement. This is called the Mind of Vigor, the mind that resides in vigor.

K4 The mind that resides in wisdom.

Sutra:

The essence of the mind reveals itself as total wisdom; this is called the Mind that Resides in Wisdom.

Commentary:

When one has progressed until the mind is truly pure, then the essence of the mind reveals itself as total wisdom. The mind is clear and understood, which means one has some genuine wisdom. "Total wisdom" means that there is not the least bit of random thinking remaining. The stupidity and false thoughts are all gone. Remember that this was described above, in the passage on the first dwelling of the mind, where it said that "all false thinking is completely eliminated." This is called the Mind that Resides in Wisdom. This is the dwelling of the mind of faith in wisdom.

K5 The mind that resides in samadhi.

Sutra:

As the wisdom and brightness are held steadfast, a profound stillness pervades. The stage at which the majesty of this stillness becomes constant and solid is called the Mind that Resides in Samadhi.

Commentary:


As the wisdom and brightness are held steadfast, a profound stillness pervades. This means that you must hold onto the light of wisdom and not let it go slack. Then there is a profound stillness that extends throughout the dharma-realm. The stage at which the majesty of this stillness becomes constant and solid is called the Mind that Resides in Samadhi. The "profound stillness" represents what is "tranquil and eternally illumining," and the "majesty of this stillness" represents what is "illumining and eternally tranquil." "Solid" here refers to the solidifying of the water of wisdom. It had been shallower before; now it deepens. "Solid" represents samadhi-power. At this point, one will not be moved. One would not say, "That looks good," and run in that direction, and then say, "But that looks even better," and run to the next thing. One would not be always pursuing something better. If one had samadhi-power, one would not run about hither and thither. A wind out of the east would not bend one westward; nor would a west wind blow one eastward. That just means that one would not be moved by the eight winds.

In order to tell about the eight winds, we must talk about the famous Song dynasty scholar and poet Su Dong Po. He was known as layman Dong Po and he carried on a dialogue with Dhyana Master Fo Yin. The former lived on the south bank of the Long River (Yang Tze) at Chen Chiang, and the latter on the north bank of the river.

The poet Su Dong Po meditated and cultivated, and one day in meditation he saw a state that moved him to write a verse. The verse went:

I bow my head to the God among gods.
And a ray of light illumines the great thousand worlds.
The eight winds cannot move me,
As I sit aloft a purple golden lotus.
The "God among gods" refers to the Buddha.

The poet claimed that when he bowed to the Buddha, he emitted a light that went throughout the universe. The eight winds are:

1. praise,
2. ridicule,
3. suffering,
4. bliss,
5. benefit,
6. destruction,
7. gain,
8. loss.

"Praise" is someone's saying things like, "You are an excellent student. You really apply yourself. You have a fine personality and a good moral character." But you shouldn't look upon praise as something good, because if you are moved by it, you just prove that you don't have any samadhi-power. The eight winds are difficult for cultivators to bear.

"Ridicule" means to chide or tease or use sarcasm. It's to use words in such a way as to break a person down. It may sound like praise but it's thick with sarcasm. This wind can cause one to lose one's temper. "How can you treat me like that!" is a typical reaction.

"Suffering" in all its manifold aspects is also one of the winds, as is "bliss." You may feel good, but you should not think that it's a great thing, because as soon as your mind moves to acknowledge the pleasure, a wind has moved you.

"Benefit" refers to something that will help you out. "Destruction" means something unbeneficial which is bad for you. "Gain" refers to getting something, "loss" to losing it. Getting something makes you happy; losing something upsets you. For instance, a person buys the latest model of a very fancy radio. He's so taken with it that he even dreams about it at night. Or maybe it's a camera or a telescope. In general, just imagine the thing that you are most fond of: buying it is what is meant by "gain." But once you have it, of course, other people find it attractive, too, and who would have guessed that someone would wait until you are a bit careless and steal it from you? At that point, your ignorance arises and you are afflicted by your loss. That's to be moved by the eight winds. But Su Dong Po said that the eight winds did not move him as he sat aloft a purple golden lotus. He had his servant take the poem to Chan Master Fo Yin for his critique.

Chan Master Fo Yin scribbled two words across the poem. The two words were very meaningful, but Su Dong Po couldn't handle them. He exploded in a rage as soon as he glanced at them. What were the words? "Fart, fart."

Su Dong Po grabbed the poem, threw on his coat, and stormed across the river to confront Chan Master Fo Yin.

"What kind of bad-mouthed monk are you?" he demanded of the Chan master. "What right do you have to scold people like that?"

"But you said the eight winds would not move you," Chan Master Fo Yin replied calmly. "How is it that my two little farts have blown you all the way across the river?"

Thinking it over, Su Dong Po saw how right the Chan Master was, and so he hung his head and went back home.

K6 The mind that resides in irreversibility.

Sutra:

The light of samadhi emits brightness. When the essence of the brightness enters deeply within, they only advance and never retreat. This is called the Mind of Irreversibility.

Commentary:

Once the mind resides in samadhi, the light of samadhi emits brightness. When the essence of the brightness enters deeply within these good people who are cultivating, they only advance and never retreat. Since they understand, their only intent is to progress, and they never turn around and go back. The reason they are irreversible is that they truly and genuinely understand. They have real wisdom. This is called the Mind of Irreversibility, the mind of faith that never retreats.

K7 The mind that resides in protecting the dharma.


Sutra:

When the progress of their minds is secure, and they hold their minds and protect them without loss, they connect with the life-breath of the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions. This is called the Mind that Protects the Dharma.

Commentary:

When the progress of their minds is secure, they go ever forward; they never fly off the handle. They are firm and at peace, and they hold their minds and protect them without loss, so that their minds never retreat. Then they connect with the life-breath of the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions. When one reaches the point of irreversibility, the energy-force of the Buddhas unites with one's own. This is called the Mind that Protects the Dharma. This means that the Buddhas protect you, and you protect the Buddhadharma. With the Buddha's protection, you can accomplish your karma in the Way. With your protection, the Buddhadharma can spread and grow. So this is the mind of faith that protects the dharma.

K8 The mind that resides in making transferences.

Sutra:

Protecting their light of enlightenment, they can use this wonderful force to return to the Buddha's light of compassion and to come back to stand firm with the Buddha. It is like two mirrors that are set facing one another, so that between them the exquisite images interreflect and enter into one another layer upon layer. This is called the Mind of Transference.

Commentary:


Protecting their light of enlightenment, they can use this wonderful force. To join with the life-breath of the Buddha is a kind of enlightenment. When protected, this enlightenment is replete with wisdom and intelligence which is without loss. These people can return to the Buddha's light of compassion and to come back to stand firm with the Buddha. With this subtle wonderful power, you can unite with the Buddha's bright compassion. Your life-breath and light interact with the Buddha's life-breath and light, like two mirrors that are set facing one another, so that between them the exquisite images interreflect and enter into one another layer upon layer. When two mirrors are placed opposite one another, their images interreflect repeatedly. They display infinite layers of intereflection. This is called the Mind of Transference, the mind of faith that dwells in transference of merit.

K9 The mind that resides in precepts.


Sutra:

With this secret interplay of light, they obtain the Buddha's eternal solidity and unsurpassed wonderful purity. Dwelling in the unconditioned, they know no loss or dissipation. This is called the Mind that Resides in Precepts.

Commentary:

With this secret interplay of light, they obtain the Buddha's eternal solidity and unsurpassed wonderful purity. At this point, there is a hidden connection between the light of your mind and the light of the Buddha's mind; that is what is meant by the "secret interplay of light." The light of your heart reaches to the Buddha's light, and the Buddha's light reaches to your heart. After the light of the Buddha has entered your heart, it returns to the Buddha. After the light of your mind has entered the Buddha's mind, it returns to your own mind. This interplay of light goes full circle. One thus obtains a constant illumination from the Buddha. In fact, one simply becomes one with the Buddha. This purity is incomparable. Nothing surpasses it. Dwelling in the unconditioned, they know no loss or dissipation. One has obtained the unconditioned dharmas, and no loss can occur. This is called the Mind that Resides in Precepts.

K10 The mind that resides in vows.

Sutra:

Abiding in the precepts with self-mastery, they can roam throughout the ten directions, going anywhere they wish. This is called the Mind that Resides in Vows.

Commentary:


Abiding in the precepts, the unsurpassed Vajra Bright Jeweled Precepts, with self-mastery and spiritual penetrations, they can roam throughout the ten directions, going anywhere they wish. Such spiritual penetrations come with freedom and ease. There is no need for mental exertion, no need to set one's mind to it in order to be able to go anywhere in the ten directions. They can go anywhere they wish without any hindrance. This is called the Mind that Resides in Vows. Whatever wish or vow you make can be fulfilled.

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